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Pub Visit - England

Codsall Station 1Saturday 4th July 2015

Bob Thompson

This is the most literally descriptive name of any pub I have come across. Codsall Station (the pub) is in Codsall Station, how simple is that!

It had a similar, rather depressing story to most small stations. It became unstaffed, the buildings were boarded up, and nature and vandals took their toll. It would have been demolished if it hadn’t been Grade II listed.

The great turn around occurred in 1998 when it was leased by Holden’s Brewery of Woodsetton, near Dudley in the Black Country. This small traditional brewery is a type that there are very few of today. Its history under the Holden family begins in 1915 when Edwin Holden leases the Park Inn at Woodsetton from Atkinson’s Brewery. Behind that pub was a small brewery, like many others in the Black Country.

Codsall Station 2He later purchases the pub and an estate slowly begins. However even in 1945 there were only three Holden’s pubs. However in that year they installed a bottling plant and apart from their own beers they bottled for national companies such as Bass, Worthington and Guinness. They slowly start to buy or lease pubs, although a number of earlier acquisitions were sold or closed.

I remember that when I first started taking an interest in these things I believe they had 15 pubs, now they have 20.

So, as can be seen, it is an ongoing thing with this brewery. I once visited their brewery in the early 1990s and I wish I could find the photographs taken then.

Codsall Station 3The old station itself dates from 1849 when the Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railway completed their line. It became part of the Great Western Railway on 1st September. From the opening until 24th June 1852 the trains ran to a temporary station in Wolverhampton. They then switched to Wolverhampton Queen Street (later High Level) station on that day when it opened. The final change of the era was on 14th November when the Low Level station opened and they ran to there and joined up with the parent Great Western.

Codsall Station 4Once upon a time express trains to and from London Paddington on their way to Shrewsbury, Chester and Birkenhead roared through the station. I travelled on these as a consequence of the electrification of the lines from London to Liverpool and also those through Birmingham and Wolverhampton High Level.

Finally the stopping trains were diverted quite a bit, yet they finished in 1967, mostly as to Wolverhampton High Level in 1968, and that is the situation today. The Low Level station finally closed in 1972.

The Codsall station buildings are located on the down side (thus: from Wolverhampton). Looking at the top photograph you can see the three elements of the original station. From right to left, the Waiting Room, next is the Ticket Office (with the canopy over the platform and the two-storey building is the Station Master’s House. There is a further small building beyond, possible once a store with a more modern extension built for the pub.

Codsall Station 5These separate buildings are now interconnected. The entrance is from the station forecourt between the Waiting Room and Ticket Hall. These are separate drinking areas. Further to the right is the bar counter which I guess is within the ground floor of the Station Master’s house. Beyond here the pub narrows and then opens out into another room with the modern extension with its large windows, further on.

The decorations are prolific and almost exclusively railway themed, as is to be expected. The are many paintings of steam trains, replica locomotive number plates and works plates, station and signal box signs and much, much, more. The furniture is cushioned chairs and stools along with varnished wooden tables.

The first two rooms have bare wood floors and the bar room is carpeted. All of the rooms have fireplaces so I would imagine this pub would be comfortable in winter, the perfect place to while away a few hours. There are some alcoves which have fitted bench-type seating which are reminiscent of old railway carriages. The effect is increased by using a fabric that looks just right to create the illusion.

The pub has four regular Holden’s beers and two guests. The permanent range is Mild (3.7%), Bitter (3.9%) and Special (5.1%) along with Golden Glow (4.4%). Please note the traditional range of three beers that most breweries offered up to thirty years ago; a Mild, a Bitter and a Best Bitter. Golden Glow was developed around fifteen years ago and was one of the first Golden Ales in the country.

Codsall Station 6The two guest beers were Springhead (Laneham, Nottinghamshire) Sweetlips (4.6%), a golden ale and Kelham Island (Sheffield, South Yorkshire) Miami Extra Pale Ale (5.0%) which was an American-style Pale Ale. I don’t think this pub sells a still cider, only keg versions.

Dogs are welcomed and they supply water and dog treats. It was CAMRA Wolverhampton’s Pub of the Year for five consecutive years from 2001 to 2005. It also achieved CAMRA Staffordshire Pub of the Year in 2003. There’s live music on the last Saturday in the month from 17.00. They have a Beer Festival each year over the first Bank Holiday weekend in May, The pub offers a full menu lunch times and evening, see below for times. It’s so easy to get to if you are in the area, you must pay a visit!

Important Information:

Codsall Station, The Railway Station, Chapel Lane, Codsall, Staffordshire WV8 2EH
Tel: 01902 847061

Open: Monday-Thursday 11.30-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.30-23.30; Sunday 12.00-22.30

Food is offered: Monday-Saturday 11.30-14.30, 17.00-21.00;
Sunday 12.00-17.00 (Limited menu)

The station is on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury line and the train service is provided by London Midland from Monday to Saturday and operates hourly. On Sunday it is every two hours and Arriva Trains Wales is the operator.

You can also get here by bus. The service is the No 5 from Wolverhampton. It runs every 15 minutes, hourly after 19.00 and all day Sundays. You alight at the terminus, then go south to the village centre. You will see the Bull pub on the corner of Station Road, walk down here.
Overall it is a 10-15 minute walk from the bus stop at Bakers Way.